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A Square of Sky: A wartime childhood: from ghetto to convent [Kindle Edition]

Janina David
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £13.99
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Book Description

At the age of nine Janina David led a sheltered life with her prosperous Jewish family in Poland. A year later they were all on the verge of starvation, sharing a small room in the Warsaw ghetto. When it became clear that none of them was likely to survive, the thirteen-year-old girl was smuggled out to live with family friends. When their home became too dangerous, she was sent with false identity papers to a Catholic convent, where she lived in constant fear of being discovered. In this memoir David records the events around her through the eyes of a child, lonely and terrified, yet her determination to survive reads like a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

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Product Description


"impossible to put down" Caroline Moorhead"

About the Author

Janina David (1930-) was born in Poland in 1930, the only child of a middle-class Jewish family. She lost her parents during the war, spent two years in a children's home in France and emigrated to Australia in time for her 18th birthday. Eventually she was able to continue her education, graduating from Melbourne University in Social Studies. In 1958 she settled in England, and worked in various London hospitals as a social worker. In 1978 she left social work to become a full-time writer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1308 KB
  • Print Length: 423 pages
  • Publisher: Eland Publishing (1 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B9CO4TG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #417,427 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The story of her families descent from an affluent middle class life in Poland, to a squalid hand to mouth existence in the Warsaw ghetto, and eventual dispersion. A first hand account of some of the most terrible events of the century. The accumulation of small details of everyday life are very effective in bringing home the terror of the times.
Well written and gripping. I have actually logged on today to buy a copy for my mother. Recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This book certainly brought me down to earth with a bump. An excellent (true) story of a young girl escaping the holocaust in the WWII.
This is not one of those "I hate Nazis books" in fact I feel that she showed great awe for the first German that she came across. It is more of a 'The war will be over soon and we can return to our middle-class way of life once again'.
You will always hear people today saying, "I would have escaped" or "I would have fought back". After reading this you will appreciate why nobody could escape or fight back.
The awareness that they are slowly becoming trapped in the ghetto that first offered them sanctuary is almost suffocating. If you're content in your protected little world and want to come down to earth a bit then this is the book for you.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Believe it or not, there were joyful times too 6 Jun. 2011
Janina David was born in 1930 into a prosperous Jewish family living in Kalisz, close to what was then Poland's western border with Germany. (The border having moved, Kalisz is now in central Poland). Aware that an attack on Poland was imminent, and of the treatment of Jews by the Nazis, Janina's family moved in late summer 1939 to what was regarded at the time as the relative safety of Warsaw. But Poland was unable to resist the Wehrmacht for long and, following a terrifying bombardment, Warsaw fell and was occupied.

The flight to Warsaw, the bombardment, and all associated experiences made a deep impression on nine and a half year old Janina and are well described in A Square of Sky, the book she published in 1964, by which time she was living and working in London. She also recalls life in Kalisz and two summer holidays before the war spent in the company of the family's interestingly unreliable servant girl, Stefa, in a holiday flat in a villa some short distance from a Polish village she calls Crossways. In 1946, at the end of A Touch of Earth - the second part of her memoir and also included in this volume - Janina returns to the villa and finds Christina, the now grown-up daughter of the former owner. Christina reports that at the villa the war had been very quiet; Germans came no closer than the main road and seemed not to find the lane that led to the villa. "... if you had stayed here", said Christina, "no one would have known... Your parents and you and Stefa. You could have had the empty flat..."

It is understandable that at that point Janina had to break-off the conversation and go for a walk alone. For during those years so undisturbed at the villa she had lost both her parents and virtually all her other pre-war acquaintances.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sobering reminder 25 Oct. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a sobering reminder of how children suffered in wartime Europe. It also illustrates how random,destructive and pointless hate is, shame that lesson seems largely lost to the world already. However, the book is well written through the eyes of a child and is with enough humour to make it an enjoyable read.
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